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#pounditTuesday, December 7, 2021

Report: Deandre Ayton, Suns in contract dispute

Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton is eligible for a maximum rookie contract extension this offseason, and the assumption has been that the Phoenix Suns will eventually give it to him. At the moment, a deal is not looking likely.

The Suns are reluctant to offer Ayton a max extension, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Ayton is eligible for a $172.5 million extension, with escalators that could reach $207 million. The deadline to complete extensions on rookie contracts is Oct. 18.

According to Wojnarowski, Phoenix’s ownership does not believe Ayton is in the same class as some of his peers who were also drafted in 2018. Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Michael Porter Jr. have all signed max extensions, and Ayton does not intend to take anything less.

Ayton, 23, has improved significantly over the last two years under head coach Monty Williams. The former No. 1 overall pick averaged 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season. He seemed to take his game to a new level while playing alongside Chris Paul, who signed a four-year, $120 million deal to return to the Suns this offseason.

If Ayton does not sign an extension, he will become a restricted free agent next summer.

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